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Volume 10 | August 2007 | Energy:Are you making the most of yours?

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Part 1 - Welcome! [Back to Top]

Dear Recovering Workaholic,

Welcome to this our tenth newsletter for Recovering Workaholics.

Firstly I would like to thank you for signing up for the newsletter which is published on a monthly basis.

We have discovered that due to a technical difficulty some of you may not have received this and some of your previous newsletters, so we are resending this August newsletter. If this has affected you and you would like to read the newsletters that you have missed please step through using the
| Next links at the top of the page.

Recovering Workaholics is a growing concern. We offer 1:1 coaching, and training to facilitate those who want a truly satisfying life. Understanding what drives us to work to the point where love, happiness and fulfilment are the poor relation is the first step to creating a life you truly love. We can help you work towards achieving your “dream” life.

We also offer support for those who are facing retirement or who have recently retired or experienced redundancy who are finding it difficult to adjust to the change.

If you know of anyone who would be interested in working with us please let us know by contacting us on info@recoveringworkaholics.com

The first three of our CDs are now available as both down loads and as hard copies via the web site at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/booksandcds.php.

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) (featured as our Recommended Read) together with the companion volume Kick-Start Your Career can be ordered in both e-book and hard copy versions via our web site at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/booksandcds.php.

This helps with questions like:

  • Do you spend time dealing with problems generated with and by your staff?
  • How effectively do feel you hold people to account?
  • Do you hate having those difficult conversations with staff when things go wrong or let things run on rather than deal with things straight away?
  • Do you worry about managing other people’s emotions?
  • Are you good at delegating or do you find it quicker to do things yourself?
  • Do you have the time to manage strategically or are you always fire fighting?
  • Do you want to communicate effectively, establish high expectations from day one, delegate with ease and in doing so create a successful succession strategy?
  • Is your time, money and energy valuable?
  • Do you care about the people you work with and want them to reach their full potential in the shortest time possible?


Energy is such a precious commodity. How often do you hear people complain that they feel tired and without energy? Do you feel fatigued and that you simply can’t face the list of things you still have to do. Our feature article focuses on how you can maximize your energy, feel full of beans and raring to go.
We can do a great deal to help ourselves as individuals but organizations need to play their part too.

If you want to be full of vitality and raring to go – read on.

With best wishes,

Gina Gardiner
Helping you create a life you love!

Recovering Workaholics
Tel in the UK: 01708 703 959
Tel International: +44 1708 703 959
Email: gina@recoveringworkaholics.com

Part 2 - Recommended Read [Back to Top]

Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Ester and Jerry Hicks

Ask And It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires
by Ester and Jerry Hicks

Order book from Amazon.co.uk

Much is spoken about the laws of attraction. This book explores the principle and shares how you can explore the abundance the Universe has to offer.

It is written in a style which may not suit everyone but offers the reader the chance to consider how you are living your life. "You only hear what you are ready to hear" is one of the truisms offered in the book.

If you are curious about challenging the way you live your life and want to get to know yourself better it is well worth the read.

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively by Gina Gardiner How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) by Gina Gardiner

Order Book Online - £27

Download e-Book Now - £27

Offers lots of practical strategies for managers to help get the very best of their staff as individuals and as a team.

Everything in the book has been tried and tested in a variety of organizations; it is a distillation of over 30 years experience of developing leadership at every level.

The book does not attempt to teach grandmothers or grandfathers to suck eggs, but offers tried and tested principles, strategies and ideas which have been proven to work.

Time, energy and money are all very precious resources and all three seem to be in short supply for most busy managers.

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) Can help! Dip into it if you are facing specific issues or use the comprehensive approach to underpin ongoing and sustained individual and team development.

It has relevance for experienced managers who want to share good practice and for aspiring leaders who want to develop and deepen their leadership skills.

The book covers a wide range of issues including

  • Developing strategic vision
  • Creating your dream team
  • Creating a ‘Can Do’ culture
  • Effective delegation
  • Holding people to account
  • Developing a solutions approach
  • The power of anticipation
  • Giving positive feedback
  • Having those “hard conversations”
  • Managing stress for you and your team
  • Creating a good work life balance

How YOU Can Manage Your Staff More Effectively (And Pave The Way To Your Next Promotion) will stand alone but you will find it useful to use it in conjunction with the companion book Kick Start Your Career.

Kick Start Your Career by Gina Gardiner Kick Start Your Career by Gina Gardiner

Order Book Online - £17

Download e-Book Now - £17

This book is designed for new initiates into the business world and graduates who are ambitious and want to create a successful career for themselves. It is a no nonsense, jargon free manual, full of practical ideas and strategies to support the development of leadership from day one.

These books can be ordered via our web site at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/booksandcds.php.

Part 3 - Products and Special Offers! [Back to Top]

The three new CDs that we mentioned last month are now availabe to buy from www.recoveringworkaholics.com/booksandcds.php. We have produced them especially for you to tackle the most common problems that seem to affect many of our members. They are available as CDs and are also available as downloadable MP3 files.

Relaxation CD 1 - A Spanish Theme

Relaxation CD 1 - A Spanish Theme
PRICE: £10.00

Order CD
Order CD Online

Download MP3
Download MP3 Online Now

Relaxation CD 1 - A Spanish Theme

Take time out of your busy and stressful day to relax.

True relaxation is known to reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure, clear the mind and leave you feeling alert, refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of your day with renewed energy and vigor.

"A Spanish Theme" uses a mixture of guided imagery and deep breathing exercises to take you on an intensely relaxing journey.

Stress is sited as the cause of over 500,000 days of absence a year in the UK alone. It represents a huge cost in both economic and personal terms. In order to deal with it we must first understand what it is and what causes it.

Where stress is detrimental people are often in situations where they feel they have little control. Sustained exposure to such negative situations can have serious implications for the health and well being of the individual and ultimately for the organization as a whole

Relaxation is a powerful tool to combat stress. Learning to take time out, to truly relax has been proven to lower blood pressure, improve mental acuity and reduce stress.

Our Relaxation Tape with a Spanish theme is the first in a series of relaxation tapes created by Gina Gardiner associates.

Using visualization, guided imagery and deep breathing exercises take time out of your hectic day to unwind, de-stress and relax!

Beat Insomnia CD - Retrain Your Sleep Pattern Without Drugs

Beat Insomnia CD - Retrain Your Sleep Pattern
PRICE: £10.00

Order CD
Order CD Online

Download MP3
Download MP3 Online Now

Beat Insomnia CD - Retrain Your Sleep Pattern Without Drugs

Sleep is vital to our health and sense of wellbeing.  We need it as much as we need food and water and the air we breathe.  It is during sleep that the body rests and repairs itself.  Good quality sleep leaves us feeling refreshed, re-energized and ready to face the new day. 

Insomnia affects most people at some time during their lives.  For many it is a passing phase caused because of a stressful event in their lives.  For chronic sufferers it becomes a way of life.  Although it is not life-threatening it can and does threaten the quality of life for many sufferers leaving them frustrated, exhausted and feeling low.

"Beat Insomnia" uses deep trance techniques to help you retrain your sleep pattern without drugs.

Use "Beat Insomnia" to get a great nights sleep and make Insomnia a thing of the past.

Confidence Building CD - Creating the Confident You

Confidence Building CD - Creating the Confident You
PRICE: £10.00

Order CD
Order CD Online

Download MP3
Download MP3 Online Now

Confidence Building CD - Creating the Confident You

We all feel less confident in certain situations. This CD is designed to help you feel confident in any situation. It uses tried and tested NLP techniques to help you develop the confidence you need to tackle new social situations or when gicing an important presentation or interview.

  • How often do you wish you felt more confident? 
  • Do you worry about social events or standing up to talk in front of work colleagues?
  • Would you like to live your life feeling that you are in control?
  • Do you have butterflies in your stomach that feel as if they are wearing hobnailed boots when you have to go to an interview or a meeting?
  • Is the voice in your head telling you - you cant do it?

Developing confidence is about much more than learning to do an activity better.

It is about changing how we feel about ourselves and dealing with our thoughts and beliefs.  It is about facing the things we fear and being curious about why we fear them.

Use "Creating the Confident You" to learn to push through the fear and create a world of limitless possibilities  one where you are in control of your own destiny.

We expect the following titles to be available later in the year.

  • Relaxation CD 2 - A Country Theme
  • Relaxation CD 3 - Sky

For any further information or advice about CDs contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or phone 01708 703959

Part 4 - Feature Article
Energy - Are You Making The Most Of Yours?
[Back to Top]

When you are feeling at your most alive – raring to go and full of passion and energy – what are you doing?

When you feel tired and out of sorts, pulled down and exhausted what is at the bottom of your lack of energy?

You might think that for each person the answer would be entirely different and at one level that is in fact true. However there is a common underlying principle to both the positive and negative scenarios.

The things which de-energize us are very likely to come from one or more of the following:

Carrying around emotional baggage.

When we fail to deal with negative issues which leave a residue of a negative emotion such as anger, fear, hate, loneliness, frustration, disappointment, jealousy or bitterness those emotions take energy.

If we try to suppress those emotions rather than deal with the underlying causes it takes enormous energy to keep them locked away. My metaphor for these is the dragon in the box. Once the lid comes off it can feel as though it will be impossible to put it back on again. Some clients will say “I can’t afford to cry because if I do I won’t be able to stop” or “If I admit to being angry it will be real and I won’t be able to control it any more”

The paradox is that it takes far more energy to avoid dealing with these negative emotions than it does to tackle the underlying problem itself.

If you are finding it difficult to let go there are a number of techniques which can help enormously. You may find it helpful to work with a coach, some techniques can be found in this months recommended read.


By that I mean all those things which we know we should have done / be doing but haven’t. It could be a simple as tackling the ironing, making a phone call to someone, or as complicated as complete overwhelm because we are drowning under acres of work and we simply cannot work out where to start.

The brain is constantly sending us little reminders that we still haven’t completed things, jogging our consciences and making us feel bad about ourselves.

The solution is to create a “To Do” list which is constructed in such a way as to make each small task achievable. Celebrate that achievement. Prioritize the things on your action list. Be realistic. If we can’t do it now then putting a date in the diary to do it – AND STICKING TO YOUR PROMISE TO DO IT can enable you to get things done more effectively.

All or nothing syndrome

Hand in hand with the in-completions goes the human condition that so many of us suffer from, that is all or nothing syndrome. By that I mean that if we can’t do it all we’ll do nothing.

When I learned about this the example Topher Morrison used was of house work. A gentleman wants to get fit. He sets himself the target of exercising six days a week for 50 minutes each day. Day one arrives, he is caught up at work so cannot fit in the 50 minutes. He thinks to himself – no worries I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow comes; the train is late so he misses his session again. He then thinks to himself there is no point in doing anything this week as I can’t get my six sessions in. I’ll start again on Monday. Week by week something gets in the way of six fifty minute sessions so he does nothing.

The need to get fit niggles away at the back if his mind – as an incompletion.

One strategy is to create a target where it is impossible to fail. Ten minutes exercise once a week. Completing the task gives a sense of completion which is in itself energizing. The likelihood is that once the exercise session is actually started it will end up being longer than ten minutes. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain which are the body’s natural feel good chemical. If you feel good after doing exercise then you are far more likely to repeat the process.


Not being able to sleep well is a very common problem. For some it as a problem for an odd night, which can be irritating but it causes only a transitory problem. For others it is a debilitating because night after night sleep eludes them. Long tem insomnia can impact negatively on health and longevity and has a huge impact on the sufferer’s energy levels and sense of wellbeing.

The solution to the problem may be different for each person and will require some experimentation. In the first instance it is sensible to try to identify the root cause although that is not always obvious. You may need the help of your Doctor to eliminate physical causes like sleep apnea. Dealing with negative emotions is a good place to start if there is no obvious physical cause.

You are what you eat

I find some of my clients will report lack of energy as being an issue for them. When we look at their diet I sometimes find that it simply cannot sustain a healthy body and sense of well being. Snatched meals often made up of junk food, and/or eaten very late at night will over time impact negatively on energy levels.

Once a healthy balanced diet and taking time to eat at sensible times is established their energy levels shoot up. Part of a healthy diet should be ensuring you remain hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Dehydration will leave you feeling lethargic and unwell.

Think of your food as fuel. To run a high octane racing car you would use a top quality fuel. Your body is no different.

Giving yourself the time to eat in a relaxed way will also impact positively on your energy levels.

Creating Positive Energy comes from other things too

Doing something you feel passionate about

When we are engaged in doing something we love it creates a sense of enthusiasm and energy. When was the last time you did something you were passionate about? What was it? What is it that makes it so special? When and how can you create more opportunities to engage again?

Making a real difference

When we feel that we a truly making a difference whether it is to others, animal welfare or the environment it has a positive impact of our sense of self worth, that in turn boosts our energy levels and makes us feel valued and energized. What interests you? How can you make a real difference to others?

Try making a random act of kindness to a stranger every day. Expect nothing in return. It doesn’t matter how big or small, letting a car out of a side street, carrying someone’s bag, giving of your time and energy. Just monitor how it makes you feel.

Go out of your way to make someone smile, try talking to someone in the lift rather than staring into space. Say hello to a stranger in the street. Each small but positive action can add to your pot of personal energy.

Using imagery to create energy

You can think your way to greater energy. Think of a time when you felt at your very best, full of energy. Close your eyes and imagine you are in that moment.

Let your mind see what ever it sees. Think of the colours and textures. Are they bright or dull, close to or far away, moving or still?

Hear what you hear – are the noises loud or soft, low or high, melodious or discordant?

Feel what you feel – what sensation is it? Does it have a shape? Where is it, is it moving or still, heavy or light, hot or cold?

Immerse yourself in the sensations of that moment; pay close attention to how it is to be so full of energy. Imagine the sensations are only at 20% Turn the sensation up gradually until it is at 100%.

Finally one of the best ways of being energized is to have fun, to laugh and be playful.

Laughter, fun and playfulness

Laughter is a wonderful tonic. When we laugh we breathe deeply oxygenating the brain and releasing endorphins. The result is a hugely increased energy levels. When was the last time you had fun and laughed long and hard? Research has shown laughter has incredible benefits to general health and particularly on the immune system.

How often are you playful – taking life less seriously? We all have a child in us who can be incredibly energizing if we allow them to be. I know that life us a serious business but with out the lighter side of life it is all too easy to become bowed down under the pressure.

Plan to do something different in the next month. Create an opportunity to laugh and have fun this month. Let us know what you did and what impact it had on your energy levels by contacting us on info@recoveringworkaholics.com


In the next newsletter we will be exploring how to ensure you are not overwhelmed by the sheer volume of things on your "To Do" list.

You might find it useful to work with a coach on some of these issues. If you would like a free 30 minute coaching session to explore how you could improve the relationship you have with yourself contact me on info@recoveringworkaholics.com

Part 5 - Media Interest [Back to Top]

Recovering Workaholics featured on the BBC 4 You And Yours Programme on Wednesday 25th July.

A debate took place between myself, Professor Mansel Aylward, formally the Chief Medical Officer of the Ministry Of Defense - Work and Pensions Department and Tim Worstall of the Adam Smith Institute.

A taped contribution was offered from Tom Hodgkinson editor of The Idler.

The views varied from

  • do as little work as possible
  • life is about doing what you want to
  • work is what life is about

Recovering Workaholics is about having a great work–life balance and taking control of your life so that you are happy, healthy and fulfilled.

If any of you listened in – please let us know what you thought.

Part 6 - organizations - organizational Energy [Back to Top]

Energy is a finite resource. How we live our lives as an individual impacts hugely on how energised we feel. (Article – Energy – Are You Making The Most Of Yours) organizations often neglect to think about how they generate or dissipate the collective energies of their work force. As a result those organizations miss out on the potential enthusiasm and productivity which is generated by the creation of an energizing approach to working.

Consider your own work force for a moment. Do you think they are full of energy and enthusiasm? Are they using their creative juices to underpin your department or organizational success? Are they problem makers or solution finders?

Staff who find that their working day leaves them feeling lifeless and without enthusiasm are far more likely to take time off work. Even when they are actually present their sense of engagement and focus is likely to be far less secure.

Creating organizational Energy

There is no one approach to creating an energised and enthusiastic work force. However there are several underlying principles which go a long way to ensuring you get the best out of your staff. Each organization will need to consider their specific circumstances and find their own way, in the most effective organizations this aspect of working life will be part of an ongoing dialogue with the staff.

A sense of organizational worth

When you ask staff what they love about their job it is rarely the salary which is the crucial element. In my work with clients across a wide range of organizations the most common response is that they want to feel they are needed and that they can make a real difference. Having a sense of contribution is vital to that sense of worth. The job description doesn’t matter, a cleaner can have just as much of a sense of pride as the CEO if their efforts are recognised.

As the Manager it is important that you recognize each person’s contribution and thank them for it. Be aware that among the pet hates people state that false praise or a sense of managers simply going through the motions is counter productive. Knowing them by name, noticing when they have done a job well, or have gone that extra mile, giving credit for ideas and contribution are what matter.

An opportunity to be heard

One of the greatest reasons sited for stress is a sense that the individual has no control over a situation. Involving your staff in finding the solution is a great way of giving them a voice. The great bonus is that they often come up with some fantastic ideas.

It is vital that as a manager you make the parameters of those decisions very clear right from the outset. What is not negotiable and why, and what is negotiable. If you are uncertain about the efficacy of what they come up with set the review date when you will consider how effectively it is working sooner.

The impact of effective decision making

Decisions which are well thought out clearly communicated and only changed when there is a clear rational need to do so can energize the work force. Where the decisions have no rationale, or are constantly changed because they were not properly thought through in the first place, or are badly communicated so everyone gets a different version or half the story will sap the life energy out of an organization. The rumour train is hugely expensive in energy terms.

How are decisions made in your organization? How are decisions communicated? How much energy do you spend smoothing things over or putting things right?

The power of anticipation

Anticipating future needs, planning strategically can save huge amounts of time, energy and money.

This can be demonstrated by an example shared by one of my clients. An IT servicing company decided to change its corporate image. Rather than talking to staff to determine the best time to do it, putting aside the necessary time to change not only the printed materials but the website, infrastructure and everything else which is involved, they made an announcement that the change was to take place in two weeks time. The time chosen happened to coincide with the last two weeks of several big projects where staff were already under considerable pressure to meet deadlines. The end result was that staff had to work long hours; they felt completely overwhelmed and undervalued. The legacy of not involving them in the decision making process lasted long after the change took place.

Do you anticipate? Do you train your staff to anticipate future needs and plan for them? Doing so not only ensures that you maximise the use of the resources at your disposal but ensures there is time for strategic thinking and development.

In-completions create a sense of overwhelm which is de-energising.

Structuring work into manageable chunks so people feel a sense of achievement and completion can solve this problem. This can be done by training them to break goals down into manageable targets.

Never take good will for granted

Many organizations rely heavily on the good will of their staff. Good will is difficult to quantify but can have an amazing impact on an organization. At its best good will oils the wheels, people want to go that extra mile because they feel appreciated and know that their contribution makes a real difference. If taken for granted it is de-motivating, people turn into clock watchers, ‘jobsworths’ who resent any extra time or effort they are asked to contribute.

Are the right people doing the jobs?

If the job is too challenging people quickly feel swamped. Overwhelm saps the energy and the confidence. Appropriate training and support can minimise the problem.

If the job is too easy it becomes mundane and boring. Boredom is incredibly tiring and quickly de-motivates. The solution is not always easy. Some jobs are by their very nature stultifying but breaking the day up into different activities can help.

As the manager how many of your team are under utilized and unchallenged? Have you ever asked them how they feel about what they do?

When should you train in-house and when is it more cost effective to call in an expert. I have watched staff wrestle with a specific activity which they need do rarely, perhaps once a year. The training is ineffective because they undertake the activity so rarely they have forgotten how to do it. It takes hours to do a job which done by experts would take a fraction of the time. The net effect is a loss of confidence and high levels of frustration leading to a poor use of energy and effort.

Creating a good working environment

If people are working in clean, bright, airy conditions they are more likely to feel that they are valued. I find it amazing what a difference asking two simple questions of the staff can make if you implement their suggestions. It is that you value the staff enough to think about making their working conditions better which makes the difference.

What could we do to improve the quality of our working lives – things which have no budget implications?

What could we do which would improve the quality of our working lives we have a budget of….?

Do your staff feel that the management care about them?
How do you know?

Laughter is a great energiser

Being professional is extremely important. Creating a culture where work is enjoyed and people can find humour together can be done in a highly professional outfit with very positive results. Where staff share some social time together can pay dividends, especially when they have had a significant role in its planning.

Remember that like time and money energy can be used only once. Over the next few days be curious about how you and your staff use their energies and how you create procedures within your organization to make the most of what is a precious resource.

If you world like to know more please contact us through
or through

Part 7- Support For Partners Of Workaholics [Back to Top]

There is now a monthly Newsletter designed for the partners of Workaholics. This can be accessed by going to www.recoveringworkaholics.com/partners.php.

Your feedback is greatly appreciated.

If there are any topics you would like covered in future issues please let me know on info@recoveringworkaholics.com or complete the feeedback form at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/enquiryform.php.

What do you think?

Warmest wishes,
Gina Gardiner


Creating a good work life balance is vital for long term
health, wellbeing and happiness.

If you would like support to achieve this, visit

For any further information or to discuss your coaching needs contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or phone 01708 703959

Gina Gardiner, recognized by "Investors In People" as creating an "innovative and exemplary training programme for emerging and middle managers" and by Ofsted as an “inspirational leader”. Her experience includes that of “Change Management” and in supporting organizational leaders in developing strategic vision and creating a “can do” culture.

If you aren't a subscriber already, please sign up to receive the next issue of the free monthly Recovering Workaholics newsletter at www.recoveringworkaholics.com/freemonthlynewsletter.php.

You may copy or distribute this newsletter, provided that full credit is given and copyright information is included.
Copyright notice
Author : Gina Gardiner

For any further information or advice about Recovering Workaholics contact info@recoveringworkaholics.com or phone 01708 703959